Hobbits and demon-children

Saturday, 3 April 2004 — 11:44pm | Adaptations, Film, J.R.R. Tolkien, Literature

As I pointed out in the preceding post, April Fool’s came and went without anything truly worth mentioning on a humour front except for the odd joke only comprehensible to CUSID debaters, but these guys thought it would be clever to use it as a launchpad for a letter-writing campaign to get a film of The Hobbit greenlit for production. As it is an initiative by TheOneRing.net, the most-read Tolkien website on the Internet (and with good reason), it already has a few thousand supporters in its pocket. Remember, this is the same site that strikes fear into the hearts of those who dare to include The Lord of the Rings in any poll, for fear of being swamped. Any obscure site it links to on the front page can expect to have bandwidth trouble for weeks.

But popularity aside, people should really take a few steps back and wonder if a film adaptation of The Hobbit – even (or especially) one by Peter Jackson – is really that great an idea. The book is a very linear and episodic adventure in many ways, which could land it in the same adaptation trap as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. While it’s been turned into everything from a stage production to a video game with varying degrees of success, the prospect of a top-notch film project is, at this time, unconvincing. At the same time, there is the danger of the film having to choose between being faithful to the oft-forgotten fact that the novel is a children’s story, and the demands of the audience demographic riding the post-The Return of the King fallout. In terms of playing to the audience and fulfilling expectations, it faces the same challenges as the Star Wars prequels have thus far. As far as a Jackson film goes, the reason why so many fans are clamouring for one is out of the desire for stylistic continuity. But The Hobbit has little stylistic continuity with The Lord of the Rings in the first place, except for perhaps the first eight chapters of the latter, from which Jackson took arguably the biggest departure.

I saw Hellboy tonight and was suitably entertained, if not outright impressed. It never sinks down to being outright nauseating and oblivious to basic cinematic technique like some Leagues we know, but also feels second-class in the face of the A-list adaptations of the Marvel renaissance. Aside from an incomprehensible villain-story that boils down to a lot of occult symbols, reincarnation and an apocalyptic desire to set the entire world on fire, it was an entertaining piece and worth two hours of my time. I will elaborate further if I ever get around to it, but between Home on the Range, The Alamo, Kill Bill, The Punisher and a whole lot of exams, April is going to be a busy month.

While on the subject of Dark Horse Comics, I have yet to acquire The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #1, which was finally released in late February after months of legal delays. Considering the extent to which this here writer has been eagerly anticipating the title since its announcement, a purchase, reading and review are more than a little overdue.


submit to reddit

Say something interesting: